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Some thoughts on the Sony DCR-TRV350 Digital8 Handycam
Very good and through review of the TRV350. I think I had 3 comments as I read your review.
1. Yes, 12 bit audio mode leaves room on the tape for a 2nd 12 bit stereo channel BUT as far as I know, NO D8 camcorder has ever had the ability to record audio on that reserved space. There is no "audio dub" feature in any D8 camcorder that I know about. I have: TRV310, TRV320, TRV720 & TRV830. Perhaps last years x4x or this years x5x can dub audio but I doubt it?
2. The LANC jack is primarily used to "Remote Control" your camcorder from an external controller. There are several on the market now that can control most of the D8 VCR functions along with zoom and maybe focus?
3. I think Tape Resources comment about "don't expect the same video and audio quality from a Video8 tape is wrong. You should expect the exact same quality. But the tape might only play in the camcorder that recorded it. After a few months of mechanical wear, even that camcorder might not play it back?
I read your review on the dcr trv350, very good btw. You mentioned something that most others do not mention and that is the interval recording option. How in the world do you find out which camcorders have this option ? I know the highend cameras have it, but you don't see it in the specs ? Do you know of any other low priced Sonys that have it this feature ? thx, rudy
Your best bet is to look in the user manuals of the camcorders that you are interested in. Sony places their manuals on-line. You can find the manuals by going to www.SonyStyle.com and click on "Product Service & Support".
Based on my DCR-TRV350 manual, the following Sony models have the interval recording capability:
Hope that helps.
Liked your write up and your impressions. I started looking for a analog-DV converter for my VHS tapes and some 8mm tapes. I have an older Sony 8mm.
Then it occurred to me that I could upgrade the 8mm to DCRTRV350 Digital8 and get the analog-DV converter included. Have couple of questions:
1. I have not seen the length of recording on an 8mm tape, Do you get 120min like in the analog format on the same tape, or is Digital 8 more efficient?
2. If I use the pass-through mode for analog-DV conversion, does the DCRTRV350 have the Microvision 1 an 2 protection? Obviously I do not want it. The Sony stand alone analog-DV converters started out w/o the Microvision, but was later added on.
I really appreciated your article and understand the usefulness of this model for preserving older tapes into digital computer formats. Question: What camera would you recommend for shooting new videos straight to digital computer-ready format? There are so many choices out there, it gets a little confusing. Also, what hardware/software do you use to process these video files on your computer?
You can consider the Digital8 or MiniDV format to be more in-efficient because each tape can only store 60 minute of video. The reason is because the DV format that is actually stored on the tape is higher resolution and contains more data than the analog video of the past. Therefore, on the same surface area of the tape medium, the digital (DV) format will take more space to store more information.
Today, as a consumer, I would suggest a DV format, such as Digital8 or MiniDV. The reason is that the DV format captures much more information (today) than the MPEG-4 formats that are stored on flash disks or even the DVD format on DVD camcorders. Of course, this can all change tomorrow.
But I think your question really asks, if you had to choose between a non-DV format, such as flash disk or direct-DVD, which one should you choose. I think the answer depends on the purpose of your videos. For snap-shots and home use, I think any format will fit your need. For more professional-quality production, I really think you need to stick to the DV format.
Your computer/software question has to be considered the same way. For home use, I feel Microsoft Windows Movie Maker 2 (free) and Windows XP with a decent computer (2 GHz, 512 MB RAM) is fine. For production, you will want to get the best computer you can afford and a more flexible software, such as Adobe Premiere to use on your videos.
> "If I use the pass-through mode for analog-DV conversion, does the DCRTRV350 have the Microvision 1 an 2 protection?"
You got me curious. Just tried recording a segment from a 1995 VHS video that I rented at the video store. It works on Digital8 tape and the analog-USB conversion.
I have faced a problem. I lost the AC adapter and its connecting cable to electricity outlet. Where can I purchase this from? It has been a total nightmare to find a replacement for this and literally lead to uselessness of my TRv-350 camcorder. Anyone's input is truly appreciated.
Go to www.SonyStyle.com, click on "product service & support", then go into the "Sony Electronics Parts Center" for replacement parts or accessories.
Thank you so much for the help. It was quite helpful.
The file size info was important to me. Those are huge files. compressing to divx or vcd sounds like a must to me.
I have this camera and I have a question for you... I use my camera as a web cam and if I don't press record the camera automatically shuts off after about 5 minutes... Is their a way I can prevent this.. I want to leave the camera on the camera position, plugged in, and running info through firewire continuosly... thanks, jordon
the tape is jammed in my trv350 any idea on how to get it to eject???
I was also wondering about the power issue stated above(Jordan Ringel). How do you turn off the "auto-shutdown"? This would help me out too.
Have you guys tried the "Memory" mode, instead of the "Camera" mode? Does it still automatically shut-off in the "Memory" mode?
In the past week, I have forgotten to turn the camcorder off and left it in the Memory mode. When I came back, the battery of the camcorder is depleted. I suspect that the camcorder did not turn itself off. Otherwise, there would still be some energy left in the battery.
Would you guys confirm whether the camcorder shuts off in Memory mode?
I have confirmed that the DCR-TRV350 does not automatically turn off when it is in "Memory" mode. This morning, I left the camcorder in "Memory" standby mode. Went to do a few things. 15 to 30 minutes later, I came back and the camcorder is still on.
By the way, I had a Digital8 tape in the Sony DCR-TRV350 camcorder, this mornign, when I performed the "Memory" standby mode experiment.
I have read elsewhere that, in some Sony camcorders, by leaving the tape out, the camcorder will not shut itself down. Here is one such discussion: VAIO Village: Camcorders / Digital Cameras: Auto off
Can you connect the DCR-TRV350 between the TV and the computer and stream a movie straight to the computer via some video editing program or to a internal or external DVD writer? otherwise how would you record a regular 2 hour program on TV to convert it? or just use a memory stick and editing software? How would Chieh Cheng capture a 2 hr tv movie with the DCR-TRV350?
Yes, you can, Steve. The functionality is called "Pass-Through Signal Convert". You can connect a VCR to the camcorder, camcorder to the computer, and record the video and audio signal from the VCR directly on the computer. See the article for a description of this feature.
Hello, I'm using my DCR-TRV351 as a webcam connecting it through the usb port, but after a while (I have not check the time) the video transfer stops. The camera does not turns off but I need to turn off and on and start the webcam manager again to continue transmitting video. Does anybody knows how to prevent to lost the comunication?
That review was very accurate. I love this camera and everything it does. However, keep the AC power supply in a safe place. I misplaced mine, and was facing a $72 price tag from the Sony store. Thankfully I found one elsewhere at about half that price, but be careful. And if you are to lose it, do not try a generic or universal adapter. I blew $20 on one of these.
I'm having trouble, I can't get the audio on my movies when i transfer them using usb streaming. It says i do not have the driver for it. Can you help me? thanks
I have this camera and have no problem with using Pixela to edit video. The only thing is I am not happy with the resolution of the final product.
I think it's the fault of the camera as 640 x 480 equals 307200 pixels.
I think you need 786k to get TV quality. I probably need to get a better camera and better editing software to create pro-video.
Jef, Are you using the USB connection or the Firewire connection? The USB connection gives you a 320x200 resolution video, while the Firewire allows you to transfer video at 720x480.
Chieh, thanks for a good, thorough review.
However, it seems to lack one capability that I think is common in many Mini-DV models in its price range; there's no audio jack to monitor sound levels through headphones (and no way to adjust these levels). I bought an external shotgun mike to help isolate my subject from the ambient noise, but I'm "flying blind" (or rather, deaf) when using it.
Do you know of a capability I'm not finding? Perhaps I need an external box that would both let me adjust audio gain and plug in headphones to hear the results.
In reponse to Kens question about monitoring audio on similar Mini-DV models; although the camera may not have a dedicated headphone port, you may be able to plug some headphones into the audio/video port to monitor sound. If a sound is not heard because the signal is not getting through correctly you can buy an adaptor which allows you to connect your headphones to the A/V port, I am not sure you will be able to adjust the audio gain. I currently own a sony DCR_PC350 camcorder, it has an A/V port put no dedicated headphone port.
Also, the lANC port described in the article is used to connect a wired remote control, for example, sony's RM_VD1 Romote Commander. This is especially usefull in conjunction with frame recording because it prevents very slight camera movement caused by pushing the record button. I will try to attach an image of the LANC device.
I got this camera to use for my middle school drama classes. There is only one design flaw that makes me nuts - and apparently it really doesn't matter to anyone else - only in my situation. To change tapes, you have to completely remove the camera from the tripod. (I guess most folks don't use a tripod, but for recording a 1 1/2 hour show - well, we need it) Because of that - I lose a good portion of the show. Is there a camera comparable that you know of that has the tape inserting on the side rather than the bottom? My (way) old Sony did - but the kids managed to knock the eye piece off..
middle school teacher
I too have a question about monitoring audio on my TRV 350. You say that I might be able to plug some headphones into the audio/video port to monitor sound if I buy an adaptor which allows me to connect my headphones to the A/V port. Do you have the name for the adaptor or know where I can buy it?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Minimizing tape change time, response to middle school teacher who wrote:
Wow, I lucked out. I love this camera so much I bought seven of them.
This was the article that influenced me to choose the DCR TRV-350 NTSC by Sony.
I was intrigued most by Gibbie the hamster for low light recording and also by time-lapse interval recording.
Super Night Shot also produced some fascinating detail in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean. Just before the first drop Disney floods that area with infrared for their own cameras, to make sure no-one is standing. There are some barrels and stacks of stuff, decoration one would never otherwise see. I was in the front row and could see down the falls all the way to the bottom. When we were in the Haunted Mansion however, the cast members kept telling us to turn off the light, not realizing that we were no disturbing anyone, the lamp was off. The two infrared LED emitters under the camera's microphone were likely blazingly bright to their cameras.
Another shot that I was surprised at was also at Disneyland. I had placed the camera on the piano to film Johnny's face while he played ragtime. His pedal stomping walked that camera right off the plank.
There some switches and menu settings that interact for low light imaging.
Below: Another shot of the tripod adapter.
Dealing with "Tape won't eject" and "Camera turns itself off" for the
All of the TRV350 units I have share the same flaw, Brownout. The screen goes black and horizontal white lines flicker, all control switches cease functionality. The camera may or may not be powered on and stuck in the previous, offending mode. I call this Buzz Kill, because of the image and sound recorded when it happens.
First make sure that you didn't just leave the camera on for five minutes in standby mode. This is not Buzz Kill. The camera is programmed to shut down, to keep the tape from melting from the friction of the spinning video head drum against the stationary tape and thereby clogging the heads. This is normal and desired. To fix this just turn the thumb switch off and on, as explained in the manual. If you are using the camera as an external source for another device, like webcam streaming on USB, as a Video or S-Video source for a VCR, or Firewire to a DVD Burner or computer, then you will want to disable this feature. Remove the tape, if you are using the more versatile Camera Mode. Or turn the power switch up all the way and use Memory Mode. If using the VCR mode to play back a tape, get the tape moving before it times out.
If the problem is more serious than that, then percussive maintenance may be in order. This is NOT in the manual. Turn off the thumb switch, remove the battery, then carefully assemble each component. Cover the lens, seal any loose port covers, secure the LCD viewing screen and make sure the neck strap is neatly folded into the secured hand strap so it won't catch on anything or just wear the neck strap. Then lift the camera firmly with the the hand strap well fitted to your hand, up to eye level. Pull downward at 10 feet per second at impact, nearly freefall, and with the opposing hand rising, and with a formed cupped hand, strike the microphone area on the thumb switch to microphone line on a vertical axis. On stage I generally start with this gentle clap, but would rather find time to permit a proper restart.
It important to note that this is not the last resort, but should be treated as such. Shocking the camera under any circumstance is always a bad, bad thing. First try resetting the camera power.
Turn the camera off - rotate the thumb switch down from Memory, Camera or up from VCR to Off(charge). Use a charged battery that is known to be good. Restarting then consists of removing and replacing the battery, until the indicators light and drive motors whir. Remove the battery. If your battery has charge level test LED indicators on it's back, cycle the battery tester switch. This loads the battery into discharge and helps prepare it for the coming load. Double check the thumb switch remained Off(charge), and THROW IT AT THE WALL is what I want to do. No, don't do that.
You are likely on your way to full recovery at this point. Minimum power draw is the key here. Again remove and replace the battery. But this time, before replacing the battery, unlatch the view screen slightly (so that it won't switch on) and squeeze your little finger in to press the outermost center control button labeled "menu", it has two bumps on it. Flip the thumb switch all the way up to the memory stick. With the camera on in memory stick mode, and your finger poised at menu, re-engage the battery. Use the viewfinder to visit the menu in all three modes to trim the power. Shut off power to lamps, LCD auxiliary screen, ports and options. Night shot may also help reduce power, but make sure the Infrared Emitters are off in Menu:CameraSet:N.S.Light:off. VCR is the next thirsty mode to disable power hungry options in, rotate the thumb switch down to the bottom. You may have to remove and replace the battery again. The tape reset should be smartly cycling with each battery reconnect now. If you have the ability to, connect the AC port under the battery to the mains adapter. Slowly engage power options. Test fast forward and rewind, before play and record. I have had these things apart and noticed a peril sensitivity switch engaged to an anxiety sensor in parallel, between the volume up and reset buttons. In other words, when you are most stressed and you need the camera in urgency, the camera become a cowardly chicken shot and hides. Only after ALL of these steps complete satisfactorily, do I attempt to eject the tape, by first fast forwarding and rewinding completely, before EVER opening the compartment door to trigger the eject sequence! This helps ensure that the tape is not wound around the capstan or idle wheel, which would prevent a clean eject.
1. DONT'S: . Don't open the tape eject compartment door just a bit and then let it slip closed.
Sometimes the door is open and the tape compartment carriage is up in the ejected position but the tape cassette still won't lift out. The plastic shutter on the cassette didn't close completely and is hanging on the compartment frame. This could also be caused by some tape dangling out of the shutter. Don't pinch the carriage closed, just seat the tape in the compartment and jiggle it, or poke in something soft, long and slender, like a straw, to help close the shutter, until it comes free. If the tape is dangling it could catch on the works. If it does, release tape tension by inserting and depressing the ratchet release in the square hole at the back bottom (in the center) of the cassette as you pull the cassette free, spooling out the stuck tape. Then carefully clear the remaining tape from obstacles and manually wind it back into the cassette.
Finally there is the tiny recessed key labeled reset just below the Volume+ key. This is a software reset and will change all of your options back to the default, factory settings. It won't solve the power problem and it does little good if the camera is not getting power properly.
I don't know why whacking the front bottom of the camera works to restore power, but it's like magnetism, we know how to use it, but we don't know why it works.
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